The nerd, the football captain, the cheerleader, the outcast, the drug dealer, and the new girl. It’s all up to them to save Herrington High School and the rest of their small Ohio town from a body-snatching alien parasite. But the faculty of their school isn’t making it easy–they’re swiftly becoming scary mindless versions of their former selves and they’re intent on turning every last person they see. With a little help from the druggie teen’s homemade meds, they might just have a fighting chance.
The Faculty (1998) expertly showed what it was like to be a teen in the late 1990s, mostly thanks to screenwriter Kevin Williamson and director Robert Rodriguez. Plus, there’s a killer cast with Elijah Wood, Josh Hartnett, Famke Jannsen, and Robert Patrick. Although it did relatively well when it came out on Christmas Day, 1998, The Faculty became a cult classic when it comes to ’90s horror movies. Read on for The Faculty facts and trivia from behind-the-scenes of the filming of the film. Mild spoilers ahead!
The Cast and Crew
1. Without The Faculty, the world may have never had Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings (2001). It was Harry Kay Knowles, who plays the non-speaking faculty role of Mr. Knowles in The Faculty, who told Wood about the upcoming film and encouraged him to audition.
2. Though she would go on to be well-known for her role in the Fast and Furious series, this was Jordana Brewster’s very first film role. She played cheerleader Delilah.
3. The role of Delilah was originally written for Charisma Carpenter. She ended up declining the role because she felt it was too close to her character Cordelia in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) TV series.
4. This was the film debut of musician Usher, who plays the eventual captain of the high school football team. He would then go on to have a memorable role as the school DJ in She’s All That (1999). Clea DuVall (Stokely) also had a role in the 1999 teen rom-com.
5. A character named Venus, played by Kidada Jones, was originally featured in the movie and had several scenes filmed. Unfortunately, those scenes ended up getting cut from the film. You can see still spot her next to Usher in the science classroom scene when the teacher examines the alien species. She also shows up in the Tommy Jeans commercial mentioned later in this article.
6. Although Kevin Williamson gets the “written by” nod in the opening credits, he was actually called in to do some rewrites and add hipper characters to an already completed script. David Wechter and Bruce Kimmel wrote the original script for The Faculty in 1990.
7. Kevin Williamson was originally tasked with directing the film as well, but he decided to spend more time on writing and directing Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999). The director role then went to Robert Rodriguez. You might know Robert Rodriguez from directing From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Spy Kids (2001), and Planet Terror (2007).
8. Marco Beltrami composed the score for the film. He also composed for Scream (1996) and Joy Ride (2001), among many others.
9. Despite being a large draw for audiences of The Faculty, Famke Janssen, who plays sweet Miss Burke, said in 2016 that she still has never seen the film.
The Making of The Faculty
10. The original name for the film was The Feelers before they eventually settled on The Faculty.
11. Though set in Ohio, the fictional town of Herrington was filmed in various locations in Texas, including Austin and Dallas.
12. The football team playing the games was a real high school football team from Lockhart, Texas where they filmed the high school scenes. They even used people from town to fill the stands.
13. Zeke (Josh Hartnett) drives a 1970 Pontiac GTO.
14. By the end of the film, Zeke is the only character not infected by the alien parasite.
15. There are several connections and homages to John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). Science teacher Mr. Furlong’s severed fingers attacking the students and Miss Bruke’s severed head walking around on its own mimic scenes from the film. And when the teens take turns proving they’re not infected by sniffing Zeke’s homemade drug, scat, mimics a similar blood-testing scene in The Thing.
16. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) fans may have noticed connections to the sci-fi film. Robert Patrick plays both Coach Willis in The Faculty and the T-1000 in Terminator 2. At around 7:00, Coach Willis runs down the high school hallway toward Principal Drake much like he ran as the T-1000. Also, Jon Stewart’s character, Professor Edward Furlong, is named after the actor who played John Connor in Terminator 2.
17. Clea DuVall, who plays Stokely in the film, loved making The Faculty. She told AV Club:
The Faculty was the most time I ever spent on one set. Robert Rodriguez was so much fun to work with, and he’s such an exciting filmmaker. […] It was so much fun. It was mostly night shoots, so it was like we were in this alternate universe. Working all night long and making this fun sci-fi horror movie. I loved it.Clea DuVall, AV Club
18. Tommy Hilfiger provided clothing for the filming of The Faculty. In exchange, the teen cast of the film were featured in a TV commercial for Tommy Jeans which ran around the same time as the film. You can watch the commercial below.
19. Clips from The Faculty were used in the music video for Class of 99’s cover of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall.” Another video for Class of 99’s “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” featured fresh footage of Elijah Wood, Clea DuVall, Jordana Brewster and Shawn Hatosy with everyone but Clea DuVall lip-syncing to the lyrics. The song was featured on the motion picture soundtrack.
Release and Reviews
20. The Faculty was released in theaters on Christmas Day in 1998.
21. On its opening weekend, it landed at number 5 at the box office and earned $11.6 million. It went on to gross $40.3 million in the US and $63.2 million worldwide. With a budget of $15 million, this makes The Faculty a moderate commercial success.
22. Jordana Brewster, who plays Delilah, had an interview with Collider about the success of The Fast and the Furious (2001) compared to The Faculty. She said:
It was sort of the inverse of Fast and Furious, right? So with The Fast and Furious, I was like, “This is a small movie about cars. It’s a really fun summer project.” […] With The Faculty it was like, “You guys, this is gonna be huge. Look at all these successes around us,” like She’s All That and Scream. … And then it turned out it wasn’t so huge. We thought it was gonna be massive, I think it was a Christmas opening, and then not so big. So it was a good lesson. But it was a cult classic so that’s really cool.Jordana Brewster, Collider
23. The Faculty was nominated for eight awards, including a Saturn Award for Best Horror Film. However, it didn’t win any of the nominations.
24. The film has both a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 55% and an audience score of 55%.